There are currently 956 international students at Troy University’s campuses. The diversity and culture brought about by this demographic is being celebrated this week through International Education Week.
This nationwide event allows colleges to plan events focusing on the international student population. It is also used to promote programs such as study abroad, to raise awareness on international issues and to provide international students a chance to be more a part of the local community.
According to Darlene Schmurr-Stewart, dean of international student services, five delegations of scholars — two from China and one each from Japan, Nigeria and Georgia — are participating in various events.
The week kicked off with a soccer tournament and rugby demonstration on Sunday, Nov. 15. Each team was composed of international students with one team of Americans.
“Usually every year, we get seven or eight teams of 10 or so players, and it’s a fun way to spend a Sunday, and guys — well, guys and girls — seem to enjoy it,” said Justin Lampley, an international student adviser.
Sandro Inashvili, a visiting student scholar from the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs in Tbilisi, Georgia, who also once played rugby for his junior national team, demonstrated the sport to those who attended.
“It’s a nice event. We get to meet a lot of new people. There’s a lot of cultural exchange,” said Adhiraj Roka, a freshman computer science major from Kathmandu, Nepal.
Eleven students have also been participating in an initiative by the Rotary Club where they visit local businesses for a day.
Bakur Kvashilava, dean of GIPA, presented a lecture on Monday on the resurgence of authoritarian Russia.
Kvashilava said that Russia is a country of many faces and people’s perception toward it shouldn’t be biased based on just one of those manifestations.
“(Russia) is in trouble because it’s governed by the elite that only monger more power, more money, more wealth and that makes the lives of the people living in Russia very different from the lives of the Western youth that live here,” he said. “So they have to take these contexts into account.”
Johanna Alberich, assistant professor of Spanish, and David Kirby, lecturer of journalism, who regularly organize study abroad trips to Cuba, also presented about the country on Monday.
International student adviser Megan Simon and associate dean of first year studies Ivan Merritt presented on differences in learning style within the American and foreign education systems on Tuesday.
Inashvili discussed the country of Georgia and prospective study abroad opportunities to it at a presentation on Tuesday.
Another event was the International Research Symposium on Wednesday sponsored by Richard Nokes, an English professor and coordinator for visiting scholars.
Each year, Troy receives a couple of dozen visiting scholars and researchers who spend anywhere from eight weeks to a year and a half conducting research in the U.S.
“The symposium is less the cultural side and more the academic side of scholars showing the research they have been doing while they are here,” Nokes said. “One of the things Troy offers our students is an international perspective on really any subject they are studying.
“So because of that, we draw scholars from around the world to come here and study with us.”
An American sign language session was also organized on Wednesday with regards to Caleb Chiojioke, a freshman pre-engineering major from Nigeria who is deaf.
A panel discussing Islam, Christianity and Judaism will be held on Thursday at noon in Hawkins Hall 107. The panel will feature a Baptist preacher, a rabbi and an imam representing different faiths and discussing collective history.
An international marketplace will be hosted on Thursday at the Social Quad at 11:30 a.m., where cultural artifacts, international fashion and international food will be on display.
“It’s going to be a more cultural introduction and it’s going to be just a couple of hours before our ISCO festival,” Schmurr-Stewart said. “I call it the prelude.”
The International Students Cultural Organization’s festival is the grand event of the week, where cuisines from five different continents and performance from 10 countries will be showcased.
The week will end with the Fall Harvest Banquet held on Friday at 6 p.m. by Freshman Forum and the First Baptist Church.